Tournament favorites Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka both made strong starts on the first day of play at the Australian Open.
Home favorite Barty headlined the night session and didn’t disappoint rolling to a 6-0, 6-1 win over qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.
“I felt like it was nice and clean. End to end I did a good job in adjusting,” said Barty on court.
“Overall I felt I was able to find the forehand and control the court with my forehand,” she added. “It was just nice and solid to get out here and play a decent match and just feel like I enjoyed it. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Barty, seeking her first hard court Grand Slam title, moves into a second round meeting with another qualifier Lucia Bronzetti.
In the afternoon, 2-time champion Naomi Osaka opened her title defense cruising to a 5-0 lead against former US Open junior champion Camila Osorio before hanging on to a 6-3, 6-3 win.
“I thought I played pretty well given the circumstances, I didn’t have a lot of information about my opponent,” said Osaka told the crowd.
“I hope that we gave you a really good performance. It always feels very special for me to come back here.”
One former Australian Open champion fell as 2020 winner Sofia Kenin was bounced by the in-form Madison Keys 7-6(2), 7-5. Keys, who just won Adelaide, came up with 15 aces and 31 total winners to pull the mild upset.
But the big upset on the day in the women’s draw was Coco Gauff. The 17-year-old was dismissed by giant killer Wang Qiang who breezed with a 6-4, 6-2, giving Gauff just her second first round loss at a Slam.
“I think just everything disappointed me about today,” Gauff said after.
“I feel like in the pre-season, like I worked really hard, and I felt like I was ready to have a good run here. Today I just didn’t perform well.
“I think there’s a lot to learn from. I think I was playing a little bit tighter than normal.
“So I think next time coming into the first round of a slam, especially after a tough week before, I think I need to just play more free and focus on the moment.”
Sydney champ Paula Badosa was a winner as were Jelena Ostapenko, Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic who will meet Amanda Anisimova in the second round.
On Tuesday, play continues with the bottom half including Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu who battles fellow US Open winner and just-married Sloane Stephens.
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